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Primark to change its changing room policy after incident at Cambridge store





Primark has announced it will now offer some women-only changing areas in the majority of its stores after an outcry about men entering unisex changing areas and opening the curtains on women undressing.

The clothing chain says it has decided to bring back ‘a dedicated fitting room area for women’ in the majority of stores within weeks. However, this will include people who self-identify as women, who may be male-bodied.

This follows angry calls for women to have private changing areas after Cambridge woman Charlotte Kirby posted a video on TikTok describing an incident at the city’s Primark store, which left her sobbing and afraid. Two men separately opened the curtain of her changing cubicle while she was dressing in the store’s unisex fitting area.

A growing number of other female customers on social media have said they have felt uncomfortable, or been disturbed, while changing in Primark’s unisex cubicles that are separated by curtains rather than locked doors.

Primark in Cambridge.
Primark in Cambridge.

A statement from Primark said: “We want our stores to be places where everyone feels safe and welcome. We’re sorry to hear this hasn’t been the experience some people have reported in our fitting rooms.We’ve listened to feedback from our customers and colleagues and you’ll start to see changes in our UK stores in the coming weeks.”

The chain has said it will “ensure that we offer a dedicated fitting room area for women, as well as continuing to offer a combined fitting room area which everyone can use. The set up will vary according to the store layout.”

Primark said: “In 187 of our 191 stores in the UK we will offer a dedicated women's fitting room area and a combined fitting room area. In the four stores that only have one changing room area, we are exploring other options.”

The clothing business adds that it is “making the cubicles more secure by introducing longer curtains” and that there will be “a new mechanism to hold the curtains firmly in place”.

Primark in Cambridge Picture: Keith Heppell.
Primark in Cambridge Picture: Keith Heppell.

The men were able to access her cubicle because Primark operates a policy of having unisex changing rooms so it can be more “inclusive” rather than offering single sex spaces for trying on clothes.

They are also “refreshing” their “colleague training” in managing changing rooms in order to ensure that our teams have everything they need to manage the fitting rooms in our stores and support our customers using them.

Primark has said it will be monitoring the changes “closely”.

In practice, the unisex changing rooms in the stores will remain open for everyone, the statement from Primark explains. And people using the women-only areas will not be asked to provide identification, so will include anyone who self identifies as a woman.

The retailer adds: “The Cambridge store will be introducing women-only fitting rooms in the coming weeks. The combined fitting room area is for everyone. The women-only area is for all women and customers are not required to provide identification. If someone appears to be deliberately trying to abuse the policy then the store will manage at their discretion. The changes we are introducing are informed by the feedback we have had from customers and colleagues. We have taken these steps to try to improve our customer experience whilst using our fitting rooms.”

And they said: “The changes we are introducing are informed by the feedback we have had from customers and colleagues. We have taken these steps to try to improve our customer experience whilst using our fitting rooms.”

In the four remaining stores, that only have a unisex changing area space, Primark says it is exploring all other options.



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